The Wichita-based Tea Party group Kansans for Liberty is besieging state senators who are refusing to allow a bill that would legalize discrimination against same-sex couples.
As Raw Story reported on February 9, 2014, House Bill 2453 would make it such that “no individual or religious entity shall be required by any governmental entity” to “provide any services, accommodations, advantages, facilities, goods, or privileges” if “it would be contrary to the sincerely held religious beliefs of the individual or religious entity regarding sex or gender.”
Moreover, any same-sex couple who sought legal recourse to complain about discrimination would be foiled, because a Kansan would have only to “assert the protections provided [by the bill] as a defense to dismiss such action.”
Kansans for Liberty leader Craig Gabel is upset that the state senate has put the bill on “indefinite hold” after LGBT activists across the nation complained that it would codify discrimination into law.
Gabel wants members of his group to email state senators and ask them to not to be “cowed by a tiny minority of Kansans.” Sample letters include language that indicates that the “religious freedom” bill would also protect LGBT couples.
“If an LGBT couple owned a meeting space would any of us like to force them to rent it for an anti-gay rally and wedding?” the sample letter read. “Should an African American and his LGBT partner be forced to lease his space or services for a KKK wedding?”
The executive director of the LGBT-rights group Equality Kansas, Thomas Witt, said that the idea that House Bill 2453 protects LGBT rights is “false, from start to finish.”
“The sophistry is breathtaking,” Witt toldThe Wichita Eagle. “There’s only one target in this bill and it is gay couples.”
[Image via Flickr user theqspeaks, Creative Commons licensed]
Scott Eric Kaufman is the proprietor of the AV Club's Internet Film School and, in addition to Raw Story, also writes for Lawyers, Guns & Money. He earned a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of California, Irvine in 2008.
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